For many people I know, including me, COVID-19 started out as a joke. It shares the same name as a beer, for example.
But then, the Chinese city of Wuhan was quarantined. That was when I realized the situation is much more serious than I had thought. Still, at that time the outbreak was only reported in China, and it seemed so far away.
Then the coronavirus started to spread to Italy, Iran, and other places. I remember walking to work and laughing at the irony that Iran’s deputy health minister had tested positive for the virus.
When Italy began shutting down recently, my friend messaged me about how lucky we were to have visited last year rather than this year.
I watched as the opinions about the disease expressed by those around me shifted in just a few weeks. COVID-19 went from something that seemed slightly humorous to something that caused panic.
Two weeks ago, the employers of my friends and me asked us to test our virtual private networks to ensure that we could use them to connect to our companies’ servers in case we would need to work from home. And just last week, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology joined educational institutions across the nation in asking students to stay home and take classes digitally.
One concerning detail about this virus is how quickly it spreads. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has expanded the suggested distance one should keep from a sick person from 3 feet to 6 feet. It takes symptoms about five days to show, if they do at all, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t contagious before. The coronavirus also has a higher mortality rate than the common flu, estimated somewhere between 1 and 3.4 percent.
Given these considerations, it’s important to take precautions, including washing your hands and practicing social distancing. That helps to slow down the rate that the virus spreads, which can help to reduce the overcrowding of hospitals, an ongoing concern.
Although I am lucky that I am not immunocompromised and can work from home, I can’t help but feel enveloped by the panic that surrounds me. Everything in the news is about the coronavirus. It is affecting the lives of everyone I know, and most haven’t even been tested for it yet. It’s hard to remember that the world isn’t actually ending and that there will be life for me after this.
On one hand, it has been a distraction from fears about my own future with Huntington’s disease. It’s hard to think that far ahead when all I can see are the next few weeks and months trapped indoors. On the other hand, this outbreak might prevent my mother from being able to see me in a few weeks. Because she’s been diagnosed with Huntington’s, it feels like every second I have with her is even more important, and there is a good chance that I won’t be able to see her.
My parents keep telling me to take it one day at a time, but I’m finding it really hard to do.
Note: Huntington’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Huntington’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Huntington’s disease.
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